'I'm betting on our guys': SD prospects hyped for Spring Breakout showcase

February 15th, 2024

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A month ahead of the Padres' “Spring Breakout” showdown against the Mariners -- a game featuring some of the top prospects from each organization -- Major League Baseball unveiled further details for the league-wide event on Thursday.

All 30 clubs will participate, with 15 games airing on MLB Network and across digital platforms from March 14-17. The Padres’ game against the Mariners has been set for 1:10 p.m. PT on March 15, and it will air live on MLB Network and Padres.TV.

Thursday’s announcement also revealed a roster-release show set for March 7 at 8 a.m. PT. The Padres’ roster figures to be among the most loaded in the entire event, with perhaps as many as five players checking in on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects list. That group will face a Mariners squad likely led by infielder Cole Young and catcher Harry Ford, who check in as MLB Pipeline’s Nos. 37 and 38 overall prospects, respectively.

"That's pretty cool that you're going to be able to see and compete against other organizations' top guys,” said left-hander Robby Snelling, the Padres’ No. 3 prospect and MLB Pipeline’s No. 36 overall. “Because at the end of the day, more than likely, those guys are going to be the ones you're facing up in the big leagues."

For the Padres, it's an opportunity to showcase their recently revamped farm system. Only the Orioles and Cubs had more than San Diego’s five prospects on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100.

Catcher Ethan Salas, who headlined that list at No. 8 overall, figures to star on the Padres' side of the Spring Breakout game. Salas, last year’s top international prospect, progressed as high as Double-A in his first professional season at just 17 years old.

A fiery competitor, Salas says he’s viewing the game as more than merely an exhibition.

"It should be cool, the best guys in the orgs facing each other," Salas said. "But in terms of the game, I'm betting on our guys. I'd take our guys to war. It should be fun."

Padres No. 2 prospect Jackson Merrill (MLB Pipeline's No. 12 overall) is in contention for a big league roster spot and could instead be on the team plane to Korea for the season-opening series against the Dodgers. It’s unclear if he’ll compete.

But Snelling, Dylan Lesko and Drew Thorpe -- MLB Pipeline's Nos. 36, 56 and 85 overall -- could all feature against Seattle.

The event will put a spotlight on the new-look Padres farm system. Eighteen months ago, it was overhauled after the trades that landed Juan Soto and Josh Hader.

But through shrewd drafting, signing and trading, the Padres once again boast a handful of the sport's most intriguing prospects -- ones who will hit the national stage in a first-of-its-kind event on March 15 in Peoria.